Google released the first Android P developer preview for the Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel, and Pixel XL. If you own one of these phones, you can install it right now. But while a new version of Android is always exciting, remember that Google releases these builds for developers, not consumers.
So is Android P stable enough to install on your smartphone? I’ve been using the first developer preview for a few days, so perhaps my experiences can help you decide.
Android P Developer Preview 1 stability and battery life
I’ve been running the Android P developer preview on my Pixel XL since the preview was released on March 7.
This isn’t the least stable version of Android I’ve ever used, but it’s far from the most. Even though I’ve come across fewer issues than usual when navigating the UI, numerous apps crashed. Google Wallpapers and Maps like to force close on me, and Google Assistant has some bugs in this release too.
My phone’s wallpaper also goes completely black every once in awhile, though jumping into the Wallpapers app to reset it usually does the trick — when Wallpapers doesn’t close on me, that is.
Battery life has been surprisingly decent, at least for a developer preview. I don’t think I’ll be able to achieve my normal four-to-five hours of screen-on time, but three hours is definitely doable. I’ve even been connected to Project Fi’s network this entire time and haven’t noticed any significant battery drain.
So is Android P stable enough to use on your main smartphone? No. I don’t recommend using it on a phone you need. The last thing you want an unusable phone when you really need it.
Other known issues
Google’s release notes page lists many more bugs associated with this update:
- System and app performance is known to be periodically slow and janky, and devices may become occasionally unresponsive.
- Battery life may be regressed in this early release for screen-on and screen-off use cases.
- The Google Assistant doesn’t recognize the “Ok Google” hotword if it’s trained during setup. By retraining the Google Assistant after finishing the setup workflow, however, you can then use the hotword.
- Google Assistant doesn’t load any information for the “What’s on my screen” query.
- If Google Assistant is launched after docking multiple apps in split-screen mode, pressing the Home button doesn’t display the complete home screen.
- When recording a new pattern for unlocking the device, the system only shows the first few segments of the pattern.
- When the Autofill UI is shown for an app and the app is killed, the UI might show until the device is restarted.
- When viewing the All Apps screen, the Wallpapers, Widgets, and Home Settings buttons each appear in white near the bottom of the screen.
- Bluetooth crashes if a Host Controller Interface (HCI) command times out.
There are many more known issues in this developer preview, which you can find at this link.
When should you give Android P a shot?
This is only the first Android P release, which Google is calling an alpha build. It’s not ready for consumer use — it’s not even available through the Android Beta Program yet. Developer Preview 2 will no doubt be more stable and move up to beta status. That update arrives in May, and we can expect three more developer previews before the final release in Q3.
- Preview 1 (initial release, alpha)
- Preview 2 (incremental update, beta)
- Preview 3 (final APIs and official SDK, Play publishing, beta)
- Preview 4 (release candidate for testing)
- Preview 5 (release candidate for final testing)
- Final release to AOSP and ecosystem
Our advice? Wait until the final, consumer-ready release in Q3 unless you have a second device you can install it on.
Now I want to hear from you. Have you used the first developer preview yet? If so, how has your experience been so far?